Some people credit Benjamin Franklin with introducing a certain well-known decision making trick to us all: the classic list of pros and cons. To make informed decisions, we’ve learned, it’s always good to compare the options at length. But is a list like this as helpful as we imagine?

What if, upon closer inspection, the side of the sheet with more pros isn’t better overall? What if the other choice leads to greater physical health, higher mental capacity, more family time or increased achievement?

My suggestion: Instead of a two sided list, try making a spiderweb diagram. Or make notes next to each pro and con about how it will help you inside and out.


n the age of Instagram and online sharing, it’s so very easy to get caught up with what she’s achieving, how he looks, what amazing thing someone bought that now makes their life complete.

But you do know there’s more to the story, don’t you? Hours of photo styling and processing. Outtakes, mishaps, financial costs, missed family time, unpleasant arguments. Tradeoffs.

When you’re the beginner on the yoga mat of life, try not to compare skills and positions.

Wherever you are is a beautiful place: beginning, middle or end. Accept.


“Comparing and contrasting is a valuable human skill – and not just during high school English exams. Our ability to rank-order things is invaluable in making choices and setting priorities.”

― Martha Beck


Get inspired to focus on your biggest goal and shrug off nonessential tasks by reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Though at times I felt it simplified hard decisions too radically, it really helped me clarify my goals. I would love to hear what you think.